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Drone Pilot Uses Infrared Imagery To Support Holiday Farm Fire Operations

Photos provided by Solomon Singer.
Lane Community College

A firefighter and Lane Community College instructor has been helping out with the Holiday Farm Fire.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, Solomon Singer’s drone has made a difference.

Singer is an instructor in Unmanned Aerial Systems at LCC’s Aviation Academy. He’s licensed and gets FAA authorization before flying his drone in fire zones. When the smoke was really bad in early September, Singer’s drone came in handy.

“Drones can cut through the thickest smoke with infrared cameras, and see where the fire is, all the terrain and trees and features. We were able to actually spot a small fire up in the Little Fall Creek drainage area that nobody else knew about.”

Credit Photos provided by Solomon Singer.
A collage of several infrared images taken with Singer's drone over the Holiday Farm Fire.

Drones can also fly in conditions planes often can’t, without risk to an onboard crew. Singer says he could be called in again as crews keep gaining on the Holiday Farm Fire.

“I expect to potentially help when the fire’s fully contained, and they have need to make sure that the spot fires do not pass their lines.”

Singer emphasizes no one should operate drones in fire areas without clearance, as they could endanger lives and ground firefighting planes.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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